You’d think that getting sores in my nose would be enough to stop me from eating unsalted roasted peanuts, but no—I eat them, regret it, and do it again another day.
This is what I call addiction, and will power hasn’t been enough for me to thwart it. So instead of working harder at something that has never worked, I devised another way to prevail over (or at least get better about) my bad habit:
I changed my environment.
That is, I stopped having peanuts in the house.
This might seem too simple a change to matter, but making it essentially stopped my peanut consumption. Well, until I started living with my parents as their caretaker and could no longer control what appeared in the pantry.
And unfortunately for the health of my nasal passages, my mother’s favorite snack is…unsalted roasted peanuts.
I considered (not seriously, though) being bad and “forgetting” to pick them up on my supermarket runs, but my mother shouldn’t suffer deprivation because I have an impulse problem.
So I devised yet another plan: Crowd out peanuts with mixed nuts.
Although free from nose sores, I binged on almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios and cashews to the exclusion of vegetables.
So here’s where I am now:
Living in a peanut-rich environment but intending to be fine by using The Five-Second Rule.
Counting backwards from five to one is enough time to override an ill-advised impulse (e.g., cursing out your boss) but not long enough to rationalize the impulse and follow through (to your detriment).
Like removing peanuts from my house, The Five-Second Rule may seem too simple to make a big difference, but Mel Robbins teaches otherwise.
You can hear Mel’s story from the horse’s mouth on YouTube, but the “highlights” are that she was unemployed, facing bankruptcy, having problems in her marriage, and hitting the bottle. Hard.
Mel also had problems getting out of bed. But that changed after the night she was drowning her sorrows in bourbon in front of the TV, saw a rocket in a commercial, and got a crazy idea: What if instead of hitting the snooze button, she launched out of bed like a rocket?
The next morning when her alarm rang, Mel started counting backwards from five and was out of bed seconds later.
Mel attests that she’s used her trick to launch a business, get in shape, stop procrastinating, cure anxiety, drink less, say no, take risks, make money, and be a better mom.
Last week, my heart ached for two men and their families and friends.
Depending on the news source, the first guy reportedly knocked on, or drunkenly banged on, the second guy’s car window thinking that he was his Uber driver.
The second guy followed the first guy down the street and punched him so hard that he fell, hit his head and later died.
The second guy could now face murder charges.
I wasn’t thinking about The Five-Second Rule specifically when I read that story, but could see so clearly how a few seconds’ pause could have diverted tragedy.
Perhaps you don’t have the impulse to punch people, but the next time you’re on the brink of doing something that won’t serve you, think 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and make a better decision.